USA Pro Challenge Stage 5 preview: Breckenridge time trial (drone video)
Special to the Daily
USA Pro Challenge Stage 5 — Breckenridge Time Trial
Finish: 12:35 p.m.
What to watch: Moonstone Road, Boreas Pass Road, Main Street finish
Who to watch: Rohan Dennis, Taylor Phinney, Kiel Reijnen, Taylor Shelden
2014 time trial winner: Tejay van Garderen
Fun fact: This will be the first time in Pro Challenge history that Breckenridge hosts a time trial
TV Coverage: 2 p.m. on NBC Universal Sports (not provided by Comcast in Summit)
After four days of racing, even the powerful BMC Racing crew is uncertain about the first-ever time trial in Breckenridge.
“It’ll be kind of a mystery to us,” BMC team manager Jackson Stewart said. “The Vail course was pretty predictable, so I think this time trial will be unique because it’s a pretty open stage.”
Display of pure skill
Time trials are typically dominated by flatland sprinters, but the high-altitude Breckenridge course is filled with climbs to challenge riders with weary legs from the 126-mile Queen Stage from Aspen to Breckenridge a day earlier. For two hours, roughly 120 male riders and nearly 70 female riders will take turns tackling the 8.5-mile course, wrapping their way throug the Breck area. The complete route heads north on Main Street, loops around Coyne Valley Road and finally returns to Breck. Just as riders are starting to get comfortable with a flatland pace through Main Street, the route gets nasty. It turns east, heading up Wellington Road to the Category 3 climb on Moonstone Road and another brief ascent to Boreas Pass. The dead-end switchback at Boreas Pass then slingshots riders back to Breckenridge, where the Main Street finish is just 2.5 miles away.
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The time trial advantage
Time trials often separate legitimate contenders from riders at the middle of the pack. Seeing cyclists zip around tight corners at upwards of 20 mph is a reminder of how important pure bike handling can be, even in a seven-stage, high-altitude race that rewards stamina over finesse. The time trial is a breeze compared to the Queen Stage with three separate mountain passes, but the 8.5-mile time trial is the equivalent of a World Cup ski race. Even casual cycling fans will sense the talent of riders as they zoom past on Main Street.
Where to watch
Since the course is only 8.5 miles long, practically anywhere in Breckenridge offers a good sightline to the action. Moonstone Road will most likely be crowded, line up a spot on Boreas Pass. It’s safe to say this location won’t be boring: the Tenmile Range in the background, lightening fast turns in the foreground and the world’s best riders battling for precious seconds. Plus, the beauty of a time trial is, you get to see riders speed by for two hours straight. It’s like NASCAR in bicycles.
Warch for sprint classification leaders like Rohan Dennis, Taylor Phinney and Kiel Reijnen to dominate the time trial.
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